Behold, the Lord cometh out of his place to punish the inhabitants of the earth for their iniquity: the earth also shall disclose her blood, and shall no more cover her slain. Isaiah 26:21.
Our God is a God of mercy. With long-sufferance and tender compassion He deals with the transgressors of His law…. But there is a point beyond which divine patience is exhausted, and the judgments of God are sure to follow. The Lord bears long with men, and with cities, mercifully giving warnings to save them from divine wrath; but a time will come when pleadings for mercy will no longer be heard….
The time is at hand when there will be sorrow in the world that no human balm can heal. The Spirit of God is being withdrawn. Disasters by sea and by land follow one another in quick succession. How frequently we hear of earthquakes and tornadoes, of destruction by fire and flood, with great loss of life and property! Apparently these calamities are capricious outbreaks of disorganized, unregulated forces of nature, wholly beyond the control of man; but in them all, God’s purpose may be read. They are among the agencies by which He seeks to arouse men and women to a sense of their danger.
God’s messengers in the great cities are not to become discouraged over the wickedness, the injustice, the depravity, which they are called upon to face while endeavoring to proclaim the glad tidings of salvation…. In every city, filled though it may be with violence and crime, there are many who with proper teaching may learn to become followers of Jesus…. God’s message for the inhabitants of earth today is, “Be ye also ready: for in such an hour as ye think not the Son of man cometh” (Matthew 24:44)…. We are standing on the threshold of the crisis of the ages….
The storm of God’s wrath is gathering; and those only will stand who respond to the invitations of mercy, as did the inhabitants of Nineveh under the preaching of Jonah, and become sanctified through obedience to the laws of the divine Ruler. The righteous alone shall be hid with Christ in God till the desolation be overpast.
Conflict and Courage p. 231
—–Please pray that God will give us wisdom and guidance today. L
—–A very dear church member of our small church in _____ so needs God’s gentle arms and angels gathering around her to decrease her horrendous pain she is experiencing as she battles a very aggressive abdominal CA. Her name is Tonya and my soul is heavy for her and her dear family. She is too young to have to travel this road but as it is, it is here. Just pray she has peace and comfort from the uncontrollable pain her body is wracked with. Debra
—–I have a silent prayer request.God bless you all as we also prepare for His second coming. S
—–We need to gather together in prayer for my grandson Nathaniel. He has been sick for over 2 weeks. His little body is not wanting to fight. He started out with a cold, then strep throat, then that turned into bronchitis. Now he has a sinus infection and dark circles under his eyes. The whole two weeks he has had a fever most of the time. Please God heal his little body. Mary
—–Please say a special prayer for my sister-in-law’s father. He suffered a stroke this afternoon. Sara
When I was a little girl, my mother found a huge, green caterpillar crawling on a plant in the garden. She brought it inside and showed me. I let it crawl on my hands while she got a glass jar, poked holes in the top, and put inside it a few leaves from the plant it had been on. Then we placed the caterpillar inside the jar.
Within a week or two, that big, green creature had made a cocoon. Every day I would watch to see if it was coming out of its self-made prison. One day, just as I was coming home from school, that cocoon began to move. By the time I had gotten home, it was beginning to split. I was so excited!
For the next hour or so, I watched the wonderful that was taking place. No longer was the creature before me a huge green worm. When it first wriggled out of its cramped quarters, its wings were crinkled up and useless, but as it stood there, a change began to take place. It moved its wings back and forth pumping fluid into them. Before long, those crinkled up wings were about 5 inches across, fuzzy brown, and had beautiful big blue eye spots. I had never seen a moth like this before and its beauty delighted me.
So it is in the Christian life. If we allow Him to, the Holy Spirit changes us from an ugly “caterpillar” to a beautiful new creature. The Apostle Paul was a good example of this. He was present at the stoning of Stephen in a.d. 34. Speaking of Paul’s experience Luke says, “When they heard these things, they were cut to the heart, and they gnashed on him with their teeth. But he, being full of the Holy Ghost, looked up stedfastly into heaven, and saw the glory of God, and Jesus standing on the right hand of God, And said, Behold, I see the heavens opened, and the Son of man standing on the right hand of God. Then they cried out with a loud voice, and stopped their ears, and ran upon him with one accord, And cast him out of the city, and stoned him: and the witnesses laid down their clothes at a young man’s feet, whose name was Saul. And they stoned Stephen, calling upon God, and saying, Lord Jesus, receive my spirit. And he kneeled down, and cried with a loud voice, Lord, lay not this sin to their charge. And when he had said this, he fell asleep. And Saul was consenting unto his death. And at that time there was a great persecution against the church which was at Jerusalem, and they were all scattered abroad throughout the regions of Judaea and Samaria, except the apostles. And devout men carried Stephen to his burial, and made great lamentation over him. As for Saul, he made havock of the church, entering into every house, and haling men and women committed them to prison. Therefore they that were scattered abroad went every where preaching the word.” Acts 7:54-8:4 Paul was very zealous in his relentless persecution of Christ’s followers. He was filled with a great hatred for those who worshipped Jesus. He was sincere in his hatred, but sincerely wrong.
Still, our Loving Saviour did not give up on Paul. He used the memory of Stephen’s death to reach this man who working so hard to destroy Christians. He was fighting against that memory by being even more vigilant in his seeking out those whose beliefs differed from his. But in His mercy, our Great Redeemer stepped in to put a stop to it. On the Damascus road, our Dear Saviour met that persecutor face to face. He said to this shocked and dazed man, “Saul, Saul, why persecutest thou me? And he said, Who art thou, Lord? And the Lord said, I am Jesus whom thou persecutest: it is hard for thee to kick against the pricks.” 9:4,5
How surprised Paul was to see the Living Christ! As he listened to Jesus give him his commission, he must have thought of all of the needless deaths he had caused. Then the vision ended and Paul found that he was without sight. He must have wondered how he could ever proclaim the Good News while unable to see.
For three days, Paul fasted and prayed. He went over and over in his mind the Scriptures relating to the Messiah. The Holy Spirit brought to his mind the passages that were needed and enlightened his understanding. Then, he was ready to receive his sight again. God did this in a special way to get him in contact with fellow believers. “And there was a certain disciple at Damascus, named Ananias, and to him said the Lord in a vision, Ananias. And he said, Behold, I am here, Lord. And the Lord said unto him, Arise, and go into the street which is called Straight, and inquire in the house of Judas for one called Saul, of Tarsus: for, behold, he prayeth, And hath seen in a vision a man named Ananias coming in, and putting his hand on him, that he might receive his sight. Then Ananias answered, Lord, I have heard by many of this man, how much evil he hath done to thy saints at Jerusalem: And here he hath authority from the chief priests to bind all that call on thy name. But the Lord said unto him, Go thy way: for he is a chosen vessel unto me, to bear my name before the Gentiles, and kings, and the children of Israel: For I will show him how great things he must suffer for my name’s sake.” vs 10-16
So it was. Paul spent the rest of his life proclaiming the very message that he had tried to silence. Paul had become a changed man. He tells us, “this one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before, I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus.” Phil 3:13,14
May we also put our former life behind us and follow Him with our whole heart. May we allow the Holy Spirit to change us into a new creature. (2 Cor 5:17) May we press toward the Heavenly Kingdom and soon see Jesus face to face is my prayer.